Mexican gangsta

Today my friend Erika, a fiesty, mouthy Puerto Rican, comes down to my office to grace me with her presence and to ask me about an email. Halfway through our conversation, I notice that she has tattoos on her arm, some of those Asian characters next to a cherry blossom. I ask her what they stand for and get the standard, courage, strength, happiness, response everyone gives and just to fuck with her I say, Do your people get offended that you have Asian markings on your arm? And no, I didn’t know they were Chinese because I’m not a fucking linguist and I have no idea how to differentiate when it comes to hieroglyphics of the Asian nature.

So she says no and smirks and follows with, I have a Spanish tattoo on my back, as though having one tattoo in her native tongue gave her permission to have another in someone else’s language.

Obviously I’m going to get up and look at it because I also have a Spanish tattoo so I pull down her shirt and she has this large spiral of words in Spanish and blabbity blah I have no idea what it means because I used Google translate the last two years of my college Spanish to do my homework but it looked pretty. What looked even prettier was the tattoo she had on her shoulder for her kids and so I told her so and then listened as she went on and on about her guy in Orlando who is a tattoo magician and he’s a miracle worker and he can create, draw freehand and fix any tattoo in the world.

“I need to go to Orlando then, to see your guy. I have this tattoo I need made into something else because I hate it.” The tattoo on my lower back, my third one, was the result of a long night of gin drinking.

She asks what it is.

“Well, first, I have a tramp stamp I got when I was 18 when I was in Panama City beach.” She makes a face like I was probably being a drunk slut and I’m not going to bother arguing that because you just can’t when you have a tramp stamp, can you?

“No, the tramp stamp isn’t my issue. That’s only about an inch long and is of a Libra symbol. I don’t care about that tat. It’s the one I got in Amsterdam when I was hammered that is stupid.” I need to stop getting tattoos when I’m drunk.

“You’re not supposed to get a tattoo when you’re drunk,” she offers, like me getting a terrible tattoo was life’s way of punishing me for breaking the sobriety rule about tattoos. I ignored her.

“Ok, so anyway, I was drunk and I told the guy I wanted to tattoo this word on the inside of my arm but then Chris said I can’t go walking around with a tattoo on my forearm because of my job and also because I’m basically not bad ass enough which is just bullshit. But, to avoid long term marital issues, I said FINE, but I will have my arm tattoo one day but until then, I will put this tattoo on my back.” I keep going.

“So I tell the guy I want to write the word in my handwriting and he’s like no, I don’t do that, which in retrospect basically means he’s a fucking shitty tattoo artist. But, because I’m drunk and this particular evening very agreeable, I say fine, put it in the writing you do and put it up by my shoulder. He says, no, it won’t look good there. So I say fine, put it on my side. He says no again so you’d think I’d stop right there and be like, look. I’m paying you to write on my body, why do you even have an opinion but I didn’t say any of that and he says something like, I will put it where it looks good and because I’m a fucking idiot, I lay on my stomach and let him tattoo my back where he pleases.” She looks at me like I’m an idiot.

“What’s the word?” she asks.

“Vacilando,” I say and smile proudly, thinking I am so fucking worldy and smart and clever.

Her eyes almost fall out of her head and she bites her lip.

“I’m sorry, what? Did you say VACILANDO?” and I realize she’s trying not to laugh.

“UH YEAH, vacilando, as in it’s not the destination, but the experience? the journey? Like I’m a wanderer?” I said it like it was obvious.

She makes the most intense, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, face and bursts out laughing and says, “Write it down for me. Maybe you said bailando,” which isn’t even close to vacilando and I’m not going to tattoo something in Spanish about dancing on my back.

I write it on paper and when she bends over to read it, she laughs so hard she can’t stand up.

“That is not what vacilando means,” she is laughing so hard she’s almost crying and now I’m getting defensive.

“Yes it does. The internet says it does and I’ll show you.” I google it and sure enough, the goddamned internet says the following:

“Vacilando. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.” —John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

So I’m pretty proud of myself at this point and also if Steinbeck says it, it’s true and I am clever for having it tattooed on my back.

She is laughing so hard that she claims she’s getting an ab workout and I am not impressed.

“That is not what it means. You cannot google a Spanish word on English websites,” as though she thinks I spend a lot of time frequenting Spanish sites.

“What does it mean then?” I demand and now my other coworker is listening but not like she could avoid it because I am shouting.

“It means to hang out, to chill with friends, get drunk, relax, you know…” Then she did this thing where she leaned back and put her hands out to the side like she was the fucking Fonz or something.


She could not have found this funnier and my other coworker who already thinks I’m insane was now positive that I was also a moron.

“Don’t you have any Hispanic friends?”

NO I OBVIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE ANY HISPANIC FUCKING FRIENDS. I am the fucking whitest girl from Maine and I DO NOT HAVE HISPANIC FRIENDS.” Now I realized it would have been fucking useful to have one or two.

“Well,” she carried on, “it actually means to walk crooked, like not in a straight line, like stumbling around.”

“Fuck you it doesn’t.” This could not be happening to me.

“It does, look it up on a Spanish site. Google Definicion de vacilando.” Sure enough, all Spanish sites popped up and I’ll be damned if we didn’t go through every one of them. Not one, and I mean NOT ONE FUCKING SITE, had my definition of the word. Here is the list of what this stupid word apparently does mean:




Moving from one side to another with the impression you’re going to fall


Moving without being firm

Being unstable

The more she read them out loud and translated, the harder she laughed.

“Don’t you think you would have been positive about a word you put on your back in another language?”

I put my face on my desk. Fuck this day.

“Let me see it again,”
she said as she pulled up my shirt. I just let her. I deserved the torment.

“Nice Mexican cartel script,” she laughed so hard she choked.

I cried out in pain, pain of my fucking ego shattering in a million pieces. “IT IS NOT MEXICAN CARTEL SCRIPT.” It 100% was and I already hated it but I never had a name for it. Ugh. It was so Mexican that it killed me.

“You’re right. It’s more chola. Mexican gangsta.” and then she puffed out her chest and threw her hands up at me like she wanted to fight.

“Seriously? Isn’t chola like those Mexican women that shave their eyebrows off and draw in brown pencil eyebrows? You just called me chola? Fuck off. I need to fly to Orlando this weekend to see your tattoo guy.”

My god. I had a Mexican tattoo of a word that meant to stumble like a drunk on my back. For four years. In a location you can see in a bathing suit.

“Do your people get offended that you have Mexican markings on your body?”

I deserved that.

The Unexpected Camping Trip


I was in the parking garage, walking back to my office the afternoon he called and asked me to meet him in two hours at the bar.  We hadn’t planned on meeting that week until Thursday, and he was fucking with me by calling me on a Tuesday on such short notice, not that I had anywhere else to be.  It wasn’t so much that I didn’t drink on Tuesdays, because I did, but it was hot as fuck out and I had been parading around the city on foot doing errands and I was least of all prepared with deodorant to reapply before I sat down to drink with someone I had only seen behind my own eyelids every fucking night for the past year straight.  Also, I wasn’t wearing my drinking clothes, the uniform of romance I had put together in my head so many times, one that at the very least included a low cut tank top and a massively padded bra that somewhat matched my underwear.


Instead, I was wearing a sleeveless, powder blue sweater and grey and blue plaid pants, my hair looked like a nest on the top of my head and most of my makeup had slipped off my face somewhere between errands 1 and 4.  The worst part, though, was that my armpits, legs and most certainly my vagina region resembled that of a peasant woman in rural France, a complete crisis situation that made me want to avoid the happy hour entirely.  While I didn’t see the night ending with my pants around my ankles, I certainly wasn’t going to feel comfortable sitting around with the crotch region of a Woodstock hippie, not if these were the nights that would cement the foundation of the rest of my life.


I went, though.  I went to that happy hour, bushy pube region and all, and then to twenty others in less than two months, and we slipped immediately back to where we had been the nights I lived two floors below him, those nights I could hear his bed thumping against the floor while he did this and that with that fucking twit girlfriend, while I miserably blew out massagers sold at Brookstone that were probably not meant for between my legs.  It was intoxicating and miserable and for some awful reason, I loved every last second of it.


It was mid summer the night he casually asked me at the bar to go camping with him a few hours away in Virginia.  We were sitting side by side at the bar, watching the Red Sox after work as we ate dinner–the chicken finger platter, extra honey mustard, and the caesar salad wrap, both with French fries that I’m positive were double or triple fried and therefore extra delicious.

“Yeah, I’ll go camping,” I said calmly, trying to slow the racing that just crept into my veins.  I kept my eyes up at the TV that sat above the bottles of liquor, up and to the left.  I drank my drink more aggressively, but quietly, so you couldn’t hear it being swallowed in gulps so big and fast that it caused brain freeze.  There is nothing charming about drinking yourself into brain freeze when you’re guzzling gin in absurd quanities.


“Next weekend, with some of those Peace Corps friends. You’ve met a few of them, remember?”


Next weekend was his birthday.  He never said it was his birthday but he knew it was his birthday and he knew I knew it was his birthday but he wasn’t looking at me when he asked me because I could see his reflection in the mirror that sat behind the bottles of booze and he was looking at his chicken Caesar wrap which while delicious, was not interesting enough to stare at directly with such casual intensity.


He had just asked in a mere ten words if I wanted to go share the most pivotal romantic weekend of my entire twenties near a body of water, under the stars, in a tent, in the middle of summer where clothes were pretty much optional as the temperatures rose and booze, dear god there would be booze.


“Yeah, I remember them,” and by them, I think I knew one of them, and now I didn’t know what to panic over more, meeting fifteen infamous Peace Corps kids, most of which dated back from his days in the International dorm at UConn, or the part about the tent and the booze and the hot nights.


That particular group would end up including an ex girlfriend, two stoners that I’m sure someone told me were brilliant but I found somewhat unremarkable yet generous with their weed, which was actually very kind of them, two lesbians–though not dating lesbians, separate lesbians, one of which was foreign and outrageously sexual and confident and made me frightened to lock eyes with because she was also slightly crazy but also super charming and she actually just petrified me with her lesbian powers.  There was the elf-like girl that I knew was infatuated with him who spent most of her time in my presence staring down at me from a branch she was perched in, twenty feet in the air in a goddamned tree which no one seemed to think was bizarre but me, two hippies that I think were on the run from the law or Sallie Mae or someone, an exotic girl that I disliked for no good reason and two unshowered, long haired guys that smelled of hemp but offered a supply of bows and arrows and targets and other assorted carny games not meant to be played in groups that ingested large amounts of liquor in short amounts of time.


“So you’ll go?” he asked, still not looking at me but now at the mirror at me, and so I looked back at him in the mirror, up from my chicken fingers, and said as casually as possible,
“Sure, sounds fun.  Can’t wait to meet the rest of them.”


For the next five hours we drank gin, jager and soco, to calm our minds from the plans we had just made, and I couldn’t tell if it was the anxiety or the booze that was making me sick. I casually stood up from my stool, excused myself, walked in a crooked line to the back of the bar and threw up in the pissed covered stall they passed off as a woman’s room.  Wiping my mouth, I applied a coating of gloss to my lips, most of which missed, patted my hair down and walked back to the bar, grabbed my things, leaving the bar with an exit that included a punch on the arm, and giving him an awkward cross eyed glance I confused with winking and a crooked smile that was involuntary because I had drank my face numb.  I drove myself home on autopilot and woke up four hours later on my couch with my clothes on, forty eight minutes before I was supposed to be at work, still drunk, with little ambition to do anything but crawl into my bed where I belonged, lay my head back down, sober up and casually masturbate to the possibilities of next weekend.



We drove to Shenandoah in a rental I picked up at lunchtime on a Friday.  Something was wrong with my car that week and I knew we wouldn’t make it in his Jeep, which could barely make it five miles to our favorite bar without overheating, forget to the Valley with the chance of hitting rush hour traffic or escaping back woods rednecks.  It was a midnight blue Dodge stratus, and I can only remember this detail because of what happened to the car that weekend, but again, I’m getting ahead of myself.


We packed up a backpack each, a tent, two sleeping bags, a cooler we’d later fill with ice, booze and not much else, one dog, a driving playlist and a suffocating supply of sexual tension that kept me on edge for the entire three hour ride.  I was trying to find a balance of creating more film score moments without ruining the chance of a long term opportunity with someone I had been chasing in my head now for just over three years.


We stopped in the town closest to the Valley to stock up on the important items—two jugs of Jim Beam, two bottles of ginger ale, a few packs of cigarettes, a pack of cards, batteries for our radio, candles to keep the bugs away, a bag of ice, a tin full of gasoline, which I actually can’t remember why we bought it in the first place, solo cups and three cartons of chinese food, because we had other things to get to besides wasting the night grilling.


We found a spot around a bend, two miles down the dirt road past a canoe rental shop run by stoners and college kids.  We almost missed it as we barreled down the road, but stopped short with a slam of the brakes after seeing a rickety gate, weeds and overgrowth tangled in and out, creating a web.  We obviously weren’t supposed to go in, but there was no one else in sight, we could see it was the gateway to a lush field that ran along the river’s edge. It was deserted, it was off limits.  It was perfect.


We ripped our way through the tangled web, pulled the gate open, crept the car inside onto the long and vibrant green grass and pushed the gate closed behind us.  A once driven path snaked through the field and opened up at the lake.  There were thirty yards of lush field, untouched for some time, a large fire pit lined with large stones, ashes and coals black and gray, the ground forever blackened and the lingering smell of burning wood, wafting from the tented camp area down the way.  I turned around in a slow circle, surveying our spot, then stopped and took a few minutes to stare out at the reflection of the sun setting on the lake.  I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans and then jammed them in my pockets, mostly because they would not fucking stop sweating.  The sun was just setting, the cool air was starting to roll in and the water splashed loudly against the rocks and the brush that lined the banks, swishing and swooshing, rocking some of the anxiety out of panic stricken body.


Unpacking the car, we piled every thing near the fire pit, loaded the cooler, dumping ten pounds of ice on the liquor, prioritizing our efforts, finding sticks and fire to burn second.  I think it was an unspoken rule that we’d trade warmth by fire for booze at all cost in the next 48 hours.  You can’t blame poor decisions or awkward first sexual encounters on hearty fires but you sure as fuck could blame them on a handle each of Jim Beam.


I plopped down on a wooden stump next to the cooler and poured us each our first drink, strong and dark, and put it to my lips as he fucked with his phone and tossed the pile of wood stick by stick into the fire pit.  His dog laid down next to his outstretched legs, and he twisted his head side to side, cracking his tanned neck as he took a long, slow sip of his drink and looked down at his phone again.


“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” he said lightly, “the rest of the group isn’t coming until tomorrow.”


And I knew by the way he half looked up at me, half buried his face in his red solo cup, that they had never been coming that night, and then I too, buried my face in my cup, looking back up again only when I came to the bottom.


It was going to be a very long night.

The hunt for the cheese balls

So in case you missed my post on FB yesterday, here’s a recap.

Each night, we take turns putting Sawyer to bed. Putting Sawyer to bed entails a few things:

1. Dressing him in PJs appropriate for weather. I say this and some people would wonder why I added the part about weather but his father sleeps ass naked every day of the year and doesn’t seem to understand why sending Soy topless and in shorts to bed in January isn’t a great idea, even if he thinks our 2 year old has the body heat and metabolism of a 200 pound man. Seriously, if he didn’t think he’d wet the bed, I’d have three naked wee wees in my bed all week long and I never thought I’d say this but that is too many wee wees for me.

2. Wiping his face and brushing his teeth– unless he is in a snappy mood, in which case, just put him to bed dirty because it’s either that or risk him biting your wrist, something no one wants to deal with at the end of the day. I would say I don’t feel bad about this but I got drunk recently and then cried hysterically stating something like, “(insert wailing) I’m a terrible parent. I can’t get him to eat his food or like to take a bath or brush his teeth that are going to rot before he’s five and he hates me. He HATES me. Why would he chase me and slap me otherwise??? (continue wailing for five minutes)” I don’t feel as bad about my parenting when sober, though, and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

3. Cuddling, reading and watching “yellow trucks” videos with him on youtube for 30 minutes. We made the mistake of showing Sawyer youtube videos of contruction vehicles one night when he was being an especially big dick and we wanted to go to bed and from then until present day, all he wants to do is watch “yellow trucks.” He thinks every kind of truck is a “yellow truck”, though, so there are lots of videos to choose from. Also, luckily, most ARE yellow for some reason.

4. Playing dead and getting the early shift (7pm – 1am) to sleep. If you take Sawyer up, you know that the other person doesn’t expect you to make it back down. If you stay downstairs, you get to watch TV and fuck around while Sully sleeps his normal nighttime shift, which is 7pm – 1am. If you’re with Soy, you seem interested until you think he’s close to sleep and then you play dead to get him to stop poking you in the face.

So basically I was upstairs, in bed with Sawyer, getting ready to play dead and sleep when the Mr. texted me from downstairs.

puffs 1

I had bought a very large and delicious canister of cheese balls for Sawyer’s birthday party. We cancelled his birthday party when he came down with kid swine flu ebola and so Mommy had been dipping in to them from time to time.
puffs 2

I obviously knew exactly where those cheese balls were. I had been eating them drunk one night the weekend before while the Mr. was out having a boys night. After knocking back 1/4 of the jug, I had hid it on myself on a shelf up in the spare bedroom.

puffs 3

I could smell his desperation and I could hear him stomping around on the first floor, slamming cupboards and doors. For whatever reason, he thought to look outside, which is fucking foolish because i’m not going to hide my snacks amongst the animals or Germans.

puffs 4


puffs 5

puffs 6

I thought the girl offering up some puffs from the tub was a perfect response.

puffs 7

I honestly have no idea why he thought telling me slamming back an entire box of mac and cheese would help his cause. Now I felt even less badly for him and didn’t think he even needed a snack. So then he sends me what he considers is a peace offering, one of Adele’s latest hits on video. He knows I’ve been singing Adele dramatically since HELLO came into my life. Wasn’t going to work, though.

puffs 8

And yes, I won that 2012 Wife of the Year Trophy, fair and square. Why is a whole other story.

So just when I think the battle of the cheese balls is over, I get this today while I get to sit at work:

You would not understand what I’ve (WE’VE) been going through all morning… It’s been hectic. Rainy and cold out so we’ve been forced inside to watch MORE 80’s karate films, Sully was timed at 47sec. as his best time before Finch bucked him off, I fit a record 25 Cheesy Balls in my mouth, he only fit 5 (!!!!) and at 1100 we’re doing a Power Hour before second nap time.
sully cheese
God I hate staying home.

If that crib is filled with cheese powder, I’m going to fucking kill him.

The time of in-between

This is a continuation of The Story of How I Met the Mr.  This is Part 3.

Here is Part 2:

Here is Part 1:.

I had huge issues with being loved. in trusting.  in being wanted by someone for more than a night, forget a lifetime. I could temporarily fill the expectations of a disappointed boyfriend that never left and was never given a fair shot in the time I was with him. I could manage to fill my days with the speculations of what ifs, what could have beens and what I actually filled the days with that I lived without him were the bottoms of bottles and packs of cigarettes, with endless strings of happy hours that were neither happy, nor just hours.

I never believed in people that were meant to be until I met him.  I never believed in fate, I just figured alcohol was an valid substitution for fate that was enough for the most of us.
I missed his eyes, the way they looked at me expecting everything and nothing and taunting me in a way I didn’t let others.  They were slate greenish, like the smoothed glass left at the bottom of the sea, grayish.  I could never get his stare out of my head.
I wondered how many nights he filled with people not worthy of his time and why it took him so long to deem me worthy, and in thinking this way I grew angry, wanting him to know it was me who should say I was ready, I was willing, not him.  I would punish him for this one day, he would pay for making me feel this.  He would be punished for making me feel such levels of vulnerability that I was embarrassed at the thought of how many times I found myself crumpled and crying in the sake of his name.
I hated and loved the teeshirts he wore with names of foreign cities I’d never been, but he had.  I had missed the way he cooked for me as roommates, cooked elaborate dishes that used mounds of dirtied pots and pans and millions of ingredients, and how he never made me do the dishes, even though he hated me, and would always resent me for my domestic laziness.
I hated him for telling me  his darkest secrets, the secrets of a lifetime, and for being one of his, but for knowing all his truths, too, the truths that no one else seemed to know but I didn’t get to live.  I hated him most for not allowing us to be each other’s normal.  I wanted so much to be his life, and even with the hope that came with his drunken phone call, I had no idea what we would become.
I may have thrown myself on my bed that night with some sort of twisted satisfaction that he finally called, but he had broken my heart into a billion ugly pieces and I didn’t know how to put myself back together before I saw him.  I wanted him for all of time, I didn’t want him for another round of bar calls in which I’d walk away again, alone, to go home to a life in which I’d stare at the ceiling for more uneventful months and days, surrounded by cats who were awful, insensitive and downright judgmental. I wanted him to see me, ugly and broken, with no makeup and ratty hair, with tears and laughter and snot running down my face, with manic excitement and adoration and unconditional trust, a me downright stripped of the bullshit I always projected, calculated and indifferent.
I was nothing but desperation and anger and a shell without him.  My senses were shot and just a mere taste, the sound of his voice, catapulted me back into the vibrant happenings of the living.
I had been dead without him and I was afraid of what I’d be like brought back.  I was afraid I’d be, at minimum, a disappointment, a figment of his imagination, of mine, a moment of time that only existed in our heads.